Divorce is a complicated situation that can bring up a range of feelings. I find that most people going through divorce are looking for certainty. They want to be sure that their children will turn out ok. They want to be certain they are ready to leave and that they are better off single or will find someone else. They want to know that no one will reject them or question their choices. They want a clear picture of what their finances will look like.
Here is the bad news: certainty is not a part of the divorce process. This is where uncertainty reigns and that is the quality that makes divorce such a painful ordeal. An extended state of unknowing can put tremendous stress on us emotionally and physically. We might feel stagnant or held up in all our career, family, or personal plans while getting through divorce.
Another common experience is having conflicting views. We might decide leaving our marriage is better for the children one day, then worry we are harming them the next. We can feel hopeful about our future after divorce, then hours later, talk ourselves into believing we are doomed. We might think our partner crossed the last line, then find ourselves feeling guilty for not forgiving them. Wavering and doubt are part of any stressful and difficult process. They are not always indicators that we are doing the wrong thing.
Luckily, it’s not all bad news. We can learn many valuable lessons from divorce. With personal work and self-reflection, people often end up in a better emotional place than they were in when they were married. Divorce can teach us what our priorities are and what we want in a romantic relationship. With counseling, we can identify our own patterns that keep us in and contribute to nonfunctional relationships. This work can help lead us to a more fulfilling future relationship, in which we can grow and be nourished.
Divorce can teach us about who we can rely on. People often surprise us in a good way. Often, our fears about being rejected are unfounded and we find many more supportive people than we anticipated.
Divorce can give us an opportunity for new experiences and make us mindful in those experiences. This transitional time is a great chance to try a new hobby, start fresh, or do something you have always wanted to do. Depending on how stressful your relationship was, you may find yourself grateful for these experiences. Divorce can also make us more mindful parents. When we do not see our children one hundred percent of the time, we learn to cherish the time we do have. Research shows divorced parents can be more attentive to their children.
Finally, divorce can give you the opportunity to achieve something you doubted you could do. Maybe it’s living alone, learning finances, finding a new social circle, going back into the workforce, going back to school, etc. Divorce makes us face our fears and we can find that we are stronger than we thought. Therapy can help us feel empowered, leading to other dynamic decisions.
If you are divorced, considering divorce, are in the process, therapy can be a helpful tool. I work with people in Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter, West Palm Beach, Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, and Stuart, FL.